1970’s: The Clash – London Calling, by ciAnnait

Posted: June 5, 2012 by kinnit in Uncategorized

So iconic is the Clash’s album cover for their 1979 album ‘London Calling’, that it has been made into a UK royal mail postage stamp. Here it is.

This was their third studio album, and perhaps the first one that people think of when they think of The Clash. The cover shot was taken by Pennie Smith, staff photographer for NME music magazine, on a tour of the US.

She recalls

” They knew my work through NME. I think they decided  I was the photographer for them because I could do in pictures what they made in noise. “

The broken remains of Paul Simonons smashed bass, are now in the permanent collection of the rock n roll hall of fame in Cleveland Ohio. Q magazine voted this the best rock and roll photograph of all time commenting that

“it captures the ultimate rock’n’roll moment – total loss of control”.

This is just one of many credits this album has recieved in the 33 years since its release. The album was ranked at number eight on Rolling Stones list of The 500 Greatest albums of all time. in 2003.Alternative Press included it on its list of the 10 Essential ’80s Albums.  Mojo magazine ranked the album at number twenty-two on its Top 50 Punk Albums. London Calling was named album of the year by Stereo Review for 1980. The album was included in the BBC1 2009 Masterpieces Series, marking it as one of the most influential albums of all time.

The Clash were as punk as any punk band of the 1970’s, but more idealistic and less nihilistic than The Sex Pistols. They produced tracks with meaningful lyrics about the social issues of England of the day – unemployment, drugs, racial conflict, and social displacement. From their punk roots, they evolved a sound with influences ranging from ska, funk, soul, and pop, to jazz, rockabilly, and reggae; completely unique.

The album cover that made their name, was a direct rip-off, or shall I say, homage to Elvis Presley’s first album.

The Clash split up finally in 1986, after two founding members left in the early 80’s. However, Mick Jones (guitar, vocals), Joe Strummer (lead vocals, guitar), Paul Simonon (bass, vocals) have all had successful music careers since.







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